A personal challenge turned into a personal struggle pretty quickly till I found a sweet little hack.
It was a Monday. 5.45 am to be precise when I stepped out, all geared up for my 7-km run. It was a regular day and the distance was not hard as I completed the course multiple times before.
But then again, it does not take an average day to turn on its head, does it?
I limped back home after 55 minutes with a severe leg cramp and giddiness. In all honesty, I managed to complete only about 4.7 km before my left leg and stomach started spasm-ing and started feeling dizzy.
Besides the personal embarrassment of not completing a super easy run, now I was thinking about the cause ( maybe it was the glass of wine I had last night?) and I knew the reason.
If you are a runner, the first (and mostly) reason for any kind of cramp is one dreaded word – Dehydration. I have been drinking on average 2-3 litres of water per day even though I should be drinking about 6-7 litres. Also, the water was supplemented with 3 cups of coffee per day, fresh lime water, cold-pressed justices green tea, caffeine shots before workouts and red wine occasionally. But was it enough? Apparently not because as I turned out, I was severely dehydrated for a while and the symptoms were present. Since I chose to ignore them, manifested itself via physical agony. Also Read: Can the Humble Cup of Coffee Be the Key to a Great Workout?
Some of my unusual symptoms were:
- Migraine pains (which I thought were due to work long hours)
- Craving salty food
- Dry and itchy skin
- Feeling unusually tired and fatigued
So, for the entire month of October (and the last week of September), I decided to drink only water for one reason only: to combat my dehydration issue. I gave up coffee cold turkey, no coffee shots before working out, no 4-pm green tea, red wine on my friend’s birthday and my favourite, cold-pressed pomegranate juice. Also Read: I Gave Up Sugar For 15 Days And It Was Terrible!
To be honest, I was pretty confident before I began the experiment but I underestimated the severity of the challenge. Drinking only water should be easy-peasy, but it’s not. Trust me.
Pretty soon I realised, how addicted I was to coffee and green tea. Water was one drink which was last on my beverage list and I was paying the price for it. Also Read: 4 Simple Ways You Can Slow Down (Yet, Get Things Done)
The Hack Made It Better
I won’t beat around the bush; the first 2 weeks were pure hell as my body tried to recover from the sudden caffeine and sugar deprivation. I could barely keep my eyes open at work, my brain was all foggy, I couldn’t concentrate and I was beginning to hate water! How much of it can you drink anyway, right? It’s flavourless and does nothing for the senses. Oh yes, I was extremely irritable as well so my colleagues conveniently chose to ignore my snarky comments, for which I am pretty thankful.
But the real breakthrough came in the second week when my sister, tired of my bad mood and snarky comments, gifted me an infuser water bottle. It’s basically a water bottle but unlike regular bottles, allows you to infuse refreshing citrus flavours into your water. Since I was desperate for anything which tasted different but without cheating, I started infusing lemon into my water and it helped so much! My sugar craving and caffeine deprivation headache reduced and I didn’t miss my green tea for a quick pick me up. Also Read: Are You Fatigued Or Burnt Out? Here’s How To Know
Life After 30 Days
At the end of 30 days, thanks to the support of my cool water bottle, I felt different but in a good way. My cognitive performance has improved and brain feels sharper and more alert, I have more energy, my cravings have disappeared because of which I stopped eating junk food and thanks to that, I lost 2 kg. Oh did I mention that I get of compliment on my “clear complexion”? Also Read: The One Rule You Need To Follow If You Are Craving ( And Eating!) Junk Food
It’s a win-win situation! As a runner also my performance enhanced and I don’t get exhausted even after a long run. Overall, it was a worthwhile experiment and even though I do have coffee once every 2 days, more or less, water is my primary beverage and I plan to keep it that way.